HELENA — In Pamplona, Spain, there is the running of the bulls; in Gloucester, England, people chase a wheel of cheese down a hill; in Helena, Montana, there is the blanket rush for Symphony Under the Stars.
People lined up as early as 10 a.m. Friday to get a spot in the field for the Saturday concert. Jaime Larese was the first person to arrive at Carroll College to put out her blanket.
“We have made it a point, probably for the last three or four years, just to get down here so we get a really great spot,” Larese said. “It’s really fun to just hang out in the crowd.”
Hundreds of people arrived early to get a spot for their blankets, including sisters Railey and Taylin Ackerman.
“I’m so excited!” Railey said. “This is my first time actually placing a blanket down.”
The Ackerman sisters had a strategy to get a good spot this year.
“Run as fast as you can!” Taylin said, explaining their strategy.
Symphony Under the Stars doesn’t just provide good music, it also generates good for the Helena area.
With a $5 donation to the Boy Scouts, people could get in at 3 p.m. to place their blankets, and all blankets needed to be secured with canned food. All of those canned goods will be donated to the Helena Food Share.
In 2019, Symphony Under the Stars brought in nearly 20,000 pounds of food for Helena Food Share.
“This is, in my opinion, the best event in Helena,” Larese said.
COVID-19 forced Symphony Under the Stars to cancel last year, and people are excited to see the event back this summer.
This year’s theme is “Totally Awesome 80s.” The concert starts Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at Carroll College, and admission is free.
“The best part of this not only is music, but that everybody is welcome,” Jan Silberling said. “No one is left out, there’s no charge, there’s room for all.”